With their ease of duplication and limited protection, standard keys can't provide the higher security needed to protect high-value property or provide personal safety in more demanding situations.
Theft is a bigger problem than ever before. The increased cost and easy portability of office or lab equipment today, combined with its greater usefulness to others, makes protection of capital equipment more important than ever. Topping the list of items that disappear from offices are laptop computers, printers, and similar small, high value items.
Theft of services is another matter, if anyone with a key can get into an office on a weekend and place numerous international telephone calls or make hundreds of personal photocopies. Industrial espionage and theft of trade secrets could pose an even bigger loss.
Worse yet, workplace violence has become commonplace, and lawsuits have proliferated for failure to provide a safe environment in offices, hospitals or other buildings. Loss of key control can't be totally prevented in some cases, such as the evacuation of the World Trade Center during the 1993 terrorist bombing. The Wall Street Journal reported that, when a count of keys showed some were missing, the resulting re-keying was estimated to cost $5 million.
Companies and organizations with working key control systems in place stand better equipped to prevent such acts and to withstand lawsuits if violence does occur on site. If something happens in a non-public area of a building, the owner had better be able to show a key control system. Even in hospital emergency rooms, which are seldom locked, the existence of key control can help establish proper intent if an incident occurs.
Key control really boils down to three things:
- Who can get into the room.
- What doors does the key open?
- Why was the key issued?
Although a key control system may start out working well, master keys may be issued haphazardly as time goes by. This proliferation of master keys starts with poor information management. Doors may not be numbered properly or cross-referenced to specific keys. As people come and go, offices may be re-assigned. One day, when someone wants to use a vacant office for a short-term project, the boss has a big ring of keys to look through. They may be marked with meaningless numbers, names of former employees, or other obscure identification. Often, he lends someone a master key and has another one made for himself. If record keeping becomes lax, it soon is impossible to tell who has keys or which doors they fit. Therefore, an effective key control system requires limited availability of key blanks and strict record-keeping.
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Manufacturers, who protect key distribution through patent infringement penalties, may develop various degrees of key control and make them available to users. Keys may be restricted so a particular configuration will not be given to anyone else in the same city, Zip code or region. It is even possible to obtain a nationwide proprietary keyway, so no one else in the U.S. can get the same key.
Disclaimer: LaFosse’s Lock & Alarm is not legally morally or finically responsible in any way for any loss incurred due to the failure of any alarm system we install. Even though the problem of system failure would be a very rare occurrence it can happen. We are not aware of any company insuring against a system failure. We install excellent quality equipment and believe our alarm system and our installation work to be at least as good if not better then most in Canada. Even though we install superior equipment, and take extreme pride in our installers work, and would be proud to compare both the quality of our workmanship and equipment with any on the market, we cannot insure against failure in our alarm system. We can assure you that you will have both excellent workmanship and excellent equipment.